When I first learned about game cameras I was immediately interested in how such camera traps could catch activities of wildlife undisturbed by human presence. I was also excited by the possibility of catching images or video of large predators in action, specifically mountain lions. I am no hunter and do not support trophy hunting or predator hunting and abhor these practices for many reasons. That said, so-called ‘game cameras’ are an essential tool for wildlife research and monitoring.
It took me several years to learn how to find the right place to set a camera trap that would catch large predators like mountain lions, but I finally caught on and learned to see their activity by tracks and associated preferred haunts.
Here are a few mountain lion videos that my camera traps have captured this year.
The pollinator garden in my yard has been a pretty good place for Monarch butterflies. So far this summer I’ve counted a couple dozen Monarch caterpillars, a number of chrysalis’s and have seen about 15 butterflies successfully emerge. I was able to catch some of the action.
This little Broad-billed Hummingbird is likely the same one that built a nest in my patio last summer. Either way, she was able to successfully fledge two youngsters. There were plenty of hanging-plant options on which to build her nest, but she chose the green hook.
During her time incubating the eggs and feeding the nestlings the temperature in the patio was between 100 and 111 degrees (38 to 44 c.). She had her work cut out for her.
Here she is incubating her eggs:
Here she is feeding her kids a few days before they fledged:
Since my last blog I have come to Mexico to join Sea Shepherd’s Operation Milagr0, the on-going campaign to remove illegal gill nets set to capture the endangered totoaba. The swim bladders of the totoaba are said to be medicinal and sold in China for many thousands of dollars per kilogram. These same nets catch and drown the vaquita, a critically endangered harbor porpoise endemic to the northern Gulf of California with an estimated population of less than 20. Sea Shepherd is working in cooperation with the Mexican government to stop the poachers and give the vaquita and totoaba a fighting chance.
Last week I joined the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s reseach ship, the Martin Sheen. We will be supporting scientists studying beaked whales off the Pacific coast of Baja California. My role will be drone operator, tasked with documenting the marine mammals from the air when they surface. The scientists, who are all from Mexico, will be taking tissue samples for heavy metal and DNA testing as well as recording the whales songs.